Nalini moves fresh plea in HC for release sans Guv nod

Nalini moves fresh plea in Chennai High Court for release sans Governor's nod

Just over a week after her plea for premature release was dismissed, Rajiv Gandhi assassination case life convict Nalini has moved the Madras High Court with yet another petition seeking a directive to the Tamil Nadu government to set her free immediately without the consent of the governor.

When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice R Hemalatha adjourned the matter to April 7. The court had on March 11 dismissed another petition by Nalini seeking premature release based on a September 9, 2018 recommendation of the state cabinet, holding that the governor's consent was mandatory to give effect to it. The convict had then contended that she was under illegal detention because the governor had failed to order her release based on the cabinet recommendation, which was, however, rejected by the court.

"The mere advice tendered by the Council of Minister will not entitle the petitioner to get released prematurely unless it was accepted or signed by the Governor," a bench of Justices R Subbaiah and R Pongiappan had ruled in its order. In her latest petition, Nalini claimed that the state governor has no discretionary power whatsoever and the 'failure' to act on the advice of the council of Ministers would amount to contempt of court as per the Supreme Court order in Maru Rams case.

The governor had not acted in accordance with advice of the council of Ministers and it was unconstitutional, Nalini argued, adding she deserves to be released under Article 161, Constitution without the approval of the governor. In all, seven people, including Nalini, were convicted by a special TADA court for their role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally at nearby Sriperumbudur. They were sentenced to death, but later it was commuted to life imprisonment. Besides Nalini, the other life convicts are her husband Murugan, A G Perarivalan, Santhan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Robert Pyas.

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